Belarus-born businessman Sergei Millian sought to ingratiate himself in Donald Trump’s inner world by offering Trump’s foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos a consulting contract to work simultaneously for Trump and an unidentified Russian, according to a breaking Washington Post report. Emails obtained by The Post reveal that at the same time Millian courted Papadopoulos, he offered to serve as a conduit to the Trump campaign for Mikhail Morgulis, a Belarussian author in Florida with ties to the Kremlin.
The new report suggests Millian was closer to Trump’s world than previously known. Millian was identified two years ago as one of the sources for the Steele dossier, named for Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who compiled it as part of opposition research for Democrats seeking more information about Trump’s Russian ties. The Steele dossier cited Millian as the source for the claim that a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” existed between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Millian was also the source for the “pee tape” allegations that Trump indulged his kinks with prostitutes in Moscow.
Papadopoulos believes Millian was working with the FBI to target the Trump campaign. However, two people familiar with the FBI’s Russia investigation have denied that assertion, saying that Millian was not working with the bureau at the time he interacted with Papadopoulos, who would later plead guilty to lying to FBI agents about contacts he had with the Russian government.
Jeff Jetton, a Washington restaurateur, writer, and acquaintance of Millian, believes Millian is being treated unfairly by media outlets. He says Millian, whose location is unknown, might live in New York.
“One time he sent me a photo. He was in Europe somewhere. He was on some bridge,” Jetton said of a text he received from Millian. “I don’t really question him about where he is. He doesn’t question me about where I am. I don’t really care.”
Millian met Trump at a horse track in Miami in 2007 after “mutual associates” introduced them. A self-described real estate broker and the founder of a trade group called the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in the United States (Millian has denied affiliations with Russian intelligence), he has boasted of a relationship with Trump in his organization’s literature and elsewhere. He once claimed that he met with former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to sign a contract to sell Trump units in Florida. (Cohen denied meeting Millian and extending him the contract; he later pleaded guilty to lying to Congressional investigators about the Trump Moscow deal, as well as to bank fraud and to campaign finance violations.)
“You can say that I was their exclusive broker,” Millian told the Russian state-operated news organization RIA Novosti in 2016. “Back then, in 2007-2008, Russians by the dozens were buying apartments in Trump’s buildings in the USA.” When asked how often he spoke to Trump and his associates, Millian replied, “The last time was several days ago.”